Archive for Saturday, March 11, 2006

Nation: EU unwelcome to observe election

March 11, 2006

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— The Foreign Ministry said Friday a group of European Union lawmakers were not welcome to monitor the upcoming presidential election in Belarus, accusing the legislators of intending to provoke conflicts.

Seven members of the European Parliament are seeking to monitor the March 19 election, in which authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko is running for a third term amid opposition warnings of possible election fraud.

"The goal of these so-called 'observers' is to provoke conflict situations during the election campaign and destabilize the situation in the country," Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Popov said. About 900 observers from ex-Soviet republics and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will be enough to monitor the election, he said.

Bogdan Klikh, one of the European parliament lawmakers, said he and his colleagues possessed diplomatic passports and would still go.

Last month, authorities detained and charged four activists of the Partnership group who planned to monitor the election. The former Soviet republic's security agency chief accused them of plotting to seize power.

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